As a poet, I believe that the purpose of writing is two-fold. First, to mine our inner world and reveal something of ourselves, and second, to forge a connection with others by sharing our personal revelations. As writers, when we express our truth in our work, we create the possibility of inspiring others in a very profound and life-altering way. But, how can we clarify and refine our inner narratives in order to convey them to our audience in a meaningful fashion?
Whenever I feel stuck in my own “story,” I use a combination of visualization and coaching techniques to unearth its significance and discover its message.
This technique is very simple. If you find you are having difficulty at first, be patient. As you continue to practice visualizing, your results will become more effortless and fluid.
- First, make sure you are seated comfortably. If you haven’t already, jot down a few particulars about your story—whatever seems most important to you about the narrative.
- Next, close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Count to four on your inhale, pause, and then count to four on your exhale. As you relax into your breathing, take a moment to focus mentally on the energy center of your body. The Taoists call this center the Hara. The Hara, or “sea of energy,” is located at the navel about two inches inward from the skin, and is the gateway to cultivating inner power.
- Once you are feeling relaxed, begin to visualize the scene, story, or remembrance you are struggling with. Watch it play out as if you are watching a movie. Do not try to edit the content. Let your subconscious take you where you need to go.
The purpose of the coaching technique is to distill the soul of your story—its true meaning. This is the sacred thread that will transform your story into one your audience will connect with.
- As the movie of your story ends, take a few deep breaths, open your eyes and pen some notes about your experience.
- Review your notes to identify some key words. Do these words reveal anything about the underlying theme of your story?
- Ask yourself:
- What is the greater truth about the situation?
- What is the underlying dynamic that is operating?
- What is the source of the challenge?
- Could it be a source of opportunity?
- What role or impact has this story had on you or your character’s life?
- What role did you or your character play in the story?
- What decisions have you or your character made based on the story?
- What new perspective do you or your character have regarding this story?
- Is there a pattern in you or your character’s life around the story?
- Ask yourself, now that you have viewed the story, if this were the first step toward a significant change in you or your character’s life, what would that change be.
If you use these techniques to help you get to the heart of your idea, poem, or story you will not only write with greater depth and vision, you will honor its message and in doing so, honor yourself.